How to Find a Free Pre-K Near You

How to Find a Free Pre-K Near You

Believe it or not, pre-k programs aren’t all free of charge. Certain programs are limited based on income requirements, while others vary by state. Here are a few things to know as you search for free pre-K options in your area.

Why is Pre-K Important?

According to research conducted by the NC Pre-K Program Evaluation Project at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, children in North Carolina who attended NC Pre-K performed better in school. According to a 2017-2018 Statewide Evaluation, “Children who attended NC Pre-K performed significantly better on some language and literacy skills at the end of pre-k compared to those who did not attend NC Pre-K. Results indicated better performance for children in the treatment group than in the control group for vocabulary and
letter and word recognition skills – two key measures related to subsequent school readiness as well as later reading and school success.”

This study and many others have shown the benefits of a pre-K education.

Do You Have to Pay for Pre-K in NC?

Although North Carolina does not have universal pre-kindergarten, various options provide free pre-K for families. MECK Pre-K is a high-quality, free pre-kindergarten program for four-year-old children in Mecklenburg County. Classes are taught by licensed teachers and highly qualified teacher assistants. Classrooms are located in four- and five-star child development centers. MECK Pre-K is administered by Smart Start of Mecklenburg County and funded by Mecklenburg County. 

Steps for Finding a Free Pre-K Program

If you are considering enrolling your child in a free pre-K program, there are some steps to take beforehand to ensure you place them in a quality school. When you take the time to vet your options thoroughly, you can feel good about the program you send your child to.

Before enrolling your child in a pre-K program, you should:

  1. Search for programs in your area
    A quick Google search of “free Pre-K schools near me” will bring up tons of options. However, you probably don’t have the time to visit all of the schools that pop up. MECK Pre-K classrooms are located in child development centers, so you can look for a convenient location near your home or work.
  2. Ask for referrals
    One of the best ways to find pre-K programs is by asking people that you know and trust. For example, ask your pediatrician or close friends for their thoughts. Inquire with them about a program’s philosophy, staff, curriculum, reputation, and environment.
  3. Visit various schools
    After you’ve nailed down your list, you may want to visit a child development center and see the program in action. Call ahead to arrange a meeting time with the school administrator, director, or a staff member. You should also request to interview a teacher and take a tour of the facility so you can get a feel for where your child will spend their time.

What Makes MECK Pre-K Stand Out?

MECK Pre-K is dedicated to ensuring your child gets the best education possible before starting their K-12 journey. This high-quality program prepares your child for school and success later in life since we build skills that extend beyond the classroom.

Children in MECK Pre-K experience growth in the following areas: social and emotional skills, language and literacy abilities, mathematical and scientific thinking, and the joy of learning.

Contact MECK Pre-K Today

If you’re thinking about enrolling your child in pre-K, now’s the time to start. MECK Pre-K has many locations throughout Mecklenburg County, all of which operate in high-quality facilities. Children must turn four on or before August 31 of that year. Contact us today to learn more about our program, schedule a tour, or inquire about our application process.

If your child isn’t old enough to enroll in MECK Pre-K this year, that’s ok! Sign up to be notified when registration opens for your child’s age group.